The energetic heart and the physical heart are interconnected.
When we think of the energetic heart center, we might not immediately think of the physical heart. However, they are deeply intertwined. Let’s take a look at the interconnection between the energetic heart center and the physical heart.
The heart center or the fourth/heart chakra is located at the midpoint of the sternum in the center of the chakra system. The energy of the heart chakra says “I relate.” It’s the energy center of our bodies related to unconditional love and wholeness. An open fourth chakra helps us access compassion, humility, joy, kindness, peace, and gratitude. It allows us to connect with others and love freely without self-consciousness. The fourth chakra connects us with our reason for being here.
The heart is the access point for transformation. It allows the soul to reveal itself to the world.
The heart organ pumps blood through our bodies via our circulatory system. Our heart delivers oxygen and nutrients to our bodies and helps remove carbon dioxide and other waste. The way we treat our energetic heart affects the health of our physical heart. Stress is not just an emotional symptom; stress affects our emotional and physical health in equal measure because our mind, body, and emotions are all interconnected.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, 1 in 4 people will die of heart disease.
Heart disease can take various forms:
- Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease, and occurs when coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked. This can cause hardened arteries and a decrease of blood flow and oxygen to the heart.
- Heart rhythm disorders are caused by an irregular heartbeat.
- Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), high blood pressure, and thyroid disease, among other conditions, and occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to sustain the body.
- Heart valve disease happens when one or more of the heart’s valves cannot open or close normally. This can cause blocked blood flow or even blood leaks. High blood pressure, CAD, rheumatic fever, congenital heart disease, and heart attack can cause heart valve disease.
- Pericardial disease (disease of the sac that surrounds your heart) is often caused by inflammatory disease or infection.
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) occurs when your heart muscle becomes stretched or thickened, and therefore cannot pump enough blood.
- Congenital heart disease results when the heart forms abnormally when still in the womb.
- Broken heart syndrome is caused from extreme stress, often triggered by a major life event, such as a trauma, illness, and/or a medical event. The intense stress can constrict the heart and/or disrupt the heart’s ability to pump. These symptoms can feel similar to a heart attack, causing shortness of breath and chest pain. Broken heart syndrome is treatable, and often reverses itself quickly. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to our heart center and care for our energetic heart to improve our physical heart health.
Mindfulness and meditation can help reduce risks associated with heart disease.
Despite the prevalence of heart disease, a regular meditation and mindfulness practice can reduce risk. A mindfulness-based movement practice, such as yoga, helps maintain a healthy heart chakra and a healthy physical heart. A consistent meditation practice can lower blood-pressure and reduce stress, two of the most common causes of heart disease.
According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, mindfulness practices can increase heart rate variability (HRV), which is the speed at which your heart can make small changes between heartbeats. Having a high HRV lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 32-45 percent. Just five minutes of daily meditation for 10 or more days can increase your HRV. That’s right, just five minutes!
Connecting with the fourth chakra deepens our relationship with ourselves and others.
So we know that a consistent meditation and mindfulness practice can reduce risks of heart disease. What’s the purpose of connecting specifically with heart chakra energy? We’ve talked many times before about the power of intention. Focused intention on the heart connects you with your physical heart, the organ responsible for keeping our bodies alive. Connecting with the heart chakra allows us to expand the energy of the heart, through love, compassion, and gratitude.
Life’s deepest truths are born of love. Love flows through the energy system, while judgment sticks. The more we expand the energies of the heart, the more we embrace deep connection with ourselves, others, and all living things.
Expanding love and connection in your life is like building a muscle. It’s not, however, about being perfect. You will have hard days and judgmental thoughts, and that’s okay. It’s counterproductive to the practice to punish ourselves for having those hard moments.
Practice curiosity to shift judgmental thoughts.
The way we shift judgmental thoughts is by practicing curiosity. Take time to recognize expressions of love in your everyday life. These don’t have to be grand gestures of love. Most acts of love are simple because love is simple. Love is a pure expression of the heart. Notice when a friend really listens to something you have to say. Notice when a colleague backs your ideas up at work. Notice how you feel when an animal puts their head in your lap. Take in all those expressions of love and kindness.
Like we already said, judgment sticks to the energy system. A judgement can look like a harsh thought, excessive anxiety, disconnection, or feelings of hopelessness. Judgements take longer to pass through the energy system because they carry a heavy emotional weight. It doesn’t mean we’re wrong or bad for having judgmental thoughts. However, we can practice shifting our energy.
Heart chakra connection is your soul food.
Think of kindness, humility, and gratitude as your soul food. Practicing compassion, most importantly with yourself, literally nourishes your body. A regular kindness practice helps relieve stress and heighten your sense of ease. How can you be more compassionate toward yourself right now, in this moment?
We invite you to use mindfulness as a self-care tool. When you notice yourself having a judgmental thought, exhale. Breathe. Say ahhhh. Remember, this is not about being perfect. Expanding compassion is about practicing patience and empathy with yourself and others.
Constantly judging ourselves and others takes us away from our connection to our heart. To deepen that connection, we must practice getting quiet through meditation or contemplation. Doing so gives our minds a break. With continued practice, meditation expands the space between thoughts. This leads to greater clarity of thought and sensitivity to what we’re feeling in our bodies. This, in turn, helps lower blood-pressure and stress. See, it’s all interconnected.
Ultimately, the heart chakra helps us develop wholeness. Wholeness is a state of loving freely without self-consciousness. It allows you to embrace yourself fully and wholly, the good and the bad. That vulnerability is what leads you to balance. When we’re able to be vulnerable, we alleviate ourselves of self-consciousness by being willing to be truly seen. This allows you to see love as something within yourself rather than outside of yourself. You recognize that you belong. That you’re here is enough.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, January 13). FASTSTATS – leading causes of death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, February 1). Mindfulness can improve heart health. Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/mindfulness-can-improve-heart-health
Heart&Stroke. Types of heart disease. Heart&Stroke. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart-disease/what-is-heart-disease/types-of-heart-disease
Mayo Clinic. Broken heart syndrome. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/broken-heart-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354617
WebMD. Heart disease: Types, causes, and symptoms. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-disease-types-causes-symptoms